Patient Tommy Foster gets answers and a treatment plan through NorthShore's relationship with the Mayo Clinic.
Tremors. Stiff muscles. Slow movement. Difficulties with walking or balance. These symptoms are often telltale signs of Parkinson’s disease, which afflict two percent of persons during their lifetime, and about one million Americans presently.
The NorthShore Neurological Institute is a recognized leader in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Parkinson’s-related syndromes like dystonia, tremors, tics, hemifacial spasm and spasticity. Our specialists thoroughly understand the intricacies of PD and other movement disorders, providing comprehensive, compassionate care that addresses not only the disease, but the whole person.
Team Care Advantage
Our multidisciplinary movement disorders team takes a holistic approach to diagnosing and treating Parkinson’s and related conditions. Our experienced specialists include fellowship-trained neurologists, neurosurgeons, physiatrists, physical therapists, neurophysiologists and a neuropsychologist. Dedicated nurse clinicians are also critical members of the team, serving as a continuous resource, and as point persons, for patients and their families.
Accurate diagnosis of PD ensures appropriate and effective treatment as other disorders can sometimes mimic the symptoms of Parkinson’s. To this end, the Neurological Institute movement disorders team has distinguished itself through its formalized Parkinson’s disease evaluation program. A unique benefit for NorthShore patients, the evaluation utilizes the expertise of our neurologists to accurately test for the disorder.
NorthShore deep brain stimulation (DBS) patient Barry talks about how DBS improved his tremor.
Parkinson’s is a progressive disease that can sometimes be effectively controlled with medication. However, managing this condition as soon as it is diagnosed is essential to patients’ long-term success. Our innovative team care approach relies on patient and family education to optimize individualized treatment plans.
Neurological Institute neurologists have a variety of drug therapies at their disposal to help patients control their Parkinson’s disease symptoms, including tremors. Promising new drugs to help slow the progression of the disease are in the pipeline, and our specialists are at the forefront of new drug treatments and participate in clinical trials to ensure that our patients have access to the latest options.
Patients can also benefit from lifestyle changes—including regular exercise and stress reduction, to stave off the functional decline that often comes with PD and related disorders. Our physiatry experts offer physical medicine and rehabilitative services to help patients improve mobility—from walking to simply getting up from a chair—and to prevent or slow down further decline.
After careful evaluation, our physiatry specialists may recommend physical or occupational therapy; appropriate assistive devices such as braces or walkers; and/or modifications in patients’ living and work environments such as the installation of handrails to help keep individuals safe at home or on the job. Caregiver training also is available.
For patients who are unable to obtain sufficient relief through medications, sophisticated brain surgery techniques including deep brain stimulation (DBS) can provide tremendous results. DBS involves the implantation of tiny wire electrodes in the brain that electrically stimulate target areas. Most patients who undergo DBS reduce their medications by 50 percent or more following the operation and see improvements in their PD symptoms. DBS patients are closely monitored by the team’s specialists, including physiatrists who screen patients for rehabilitative or physical therapy services to ensure they can safely function on their own or with the help of a caregiver before returning home after surgery.
The Neurological Institute’s experienced DBS team, featuring neurologists and neurosurgeons and neurophysiologists who specialize in the care of PD patients, has treated more than 250 patients with this advanced surgical procedure since the mid-1990s.
Leaders in Research and Innovation
Neurological Institute Movement Disorders specialists are international leaders in research and innovation. Our research program has received more than $20 million in funding support, including from the National Institutes of Health and the Michael J. Fox Foundation. We aim to discover the environmental and genetic causes of PD. About 1,500 PD patients and more than 3,000 comparison subjects have participated in our study over the past 15 years. Enrollment in our studies is ongoing. The discoveries made to date have led to new methods to treat PD using a Nobel Prize winning technology known as small interfering RNAs.
We also lead the Genetic Epidemiology of Parkinson’s Disease (GEO-PD) Consortium. GEO-PD includes investigators from 40 university and hospital sites in 23 countries on six continents. Together we have committed to share data and biospecimens from more than 25,000 PD cases and 25,000 comparison subjects to discover the genetic causes of PD and discover new methods to predict, prevent, and halt PD.
For More Information
Please call 877.570.7020 for more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.